Dow Eyes 3 Straight Wins as Rebound Hits High Gear

The VIX is set for its fifth drop in the last six sessions

by Patrick Martin

Published on May 16, 2019 at 12:06 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is soaring today, up over 250 points and barreling toward its third straight win, thanks to a combination of well-received blue-chip earnings and upbeat economic data. Cisco (CSCO) has popped more than 6% -- and is on pace for its best day in three years -- as traders cheer its minimal trade-war exposure; meanwhile, Walmart (WMT) has rallied 3.3% despite warning that it will pass along tariff-related price hikes to customers.

On the economic front, the news today has been resoundingly upbeat. Weekly jobless claims fell to a lower-than-forecast 212,000, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index bolted to a four-month high of 16.6, and housing starts improved in April to a better-than-expected annual rate of 1.24 million. Against this backdrop, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) is poised for its fifth loss in six days.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including: 

  • 2 biotech stocks climbing the charts today.
  • Huawei news has options bears circling chip stocks.
  • Plus, bulls bet on FedEx stock rally; Pyxus International pops; and analysts wary of Nektar Therapeutics' cancer drug.

Midday Market Stats May 16

One name seeing unusual options trading today is FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX). At last check, roughly 18,000 calls have changed hands, representing four times the intraday amount and pacing in the 99th percentile of its annual range. Leading the charge is the May 175 call, where new positions are being opened -- indicating some options traders are banking on the stock to move higher through the end of the week. FDX is up 1.8% to trade at $175.75, at last check.

One of the best stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) earlier was Pyxus International Inc. (NYSE:PYX), up 7.5% at its highs to trade at $19.58. The pot stock announced earlier this week that it would break ground on a new facility in Ontario within the next 60 days. PYX is set for its third straight win, despite paring its earlier gains -- but the 30-day moving average looms overhead, a trendline that contained a late-April breakout.

MMC Daily Chart PYX

On the other end of the spectrum is Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR), down 7.8% to trade at $31.25, and one of the worst stocks on the S&P 500 (SPX) today. Analysts are wary of the company's combination cancer treatment, with H.C. Wainwright not convinced it is "living up to its promise." NKTR has dropped below its year-to-date breakeven level, and has now shed 60% in the last 12 months.


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